Richard Murray, owner and operator of Hilltop Greenhouses in Saanich, stands among some of the 100,000 poinsettias they grow and sell each holiday season, the only large-scale producer on the south Island. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Richard Murray, owner and operator of Hilltop Greenhouses in Saanich, stands among some of the 100,000 poinsettias they grow and sell each holiday season, the only large-scale producer on the south Island. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

A visit with the south Island’s only commercial poinsettia producer

Hilltop Greenhouses in Saanich grows 100,000 poinsettias a year

There’s only one major poinsettia producer on the south Island and business is strong.

Hilltop Greenhouses on West Burnside Road in Saanich started in the early 1970s and while poinsettia producers around the country are rare, business is steady with poinsettias covering a good range of Hilltop’s four-acre covered growing space.

The family run company sells most of the 100,000 poinsettias it grows each year on the Island. They can be found at grocery chains, independent florists and garden centres and are becoming a popular fundraising item.

“That’s a growing segment for us, churches, schools, clubs and hockey teams,” said Richard Murray, whose parents started the business. “Some groups buy 1,000 plants off us, groups from as far as Parksville-Qualicum, it’s a big fundraiser for them.”

There are easier crops to grow than poinsettias. “Unrooted cuttings” are planted in June and July and Hilltop grows about 20 different varieties, mostly reds, yellows and combinations as such. They sell as four-inch, six-inch and 10-inch plants.

“They’re not easy, they’re pretty tricky actually, but with years of experience, it’s repeatable,” Murray said.

Otherwise, Hilltop produces bedding plants and hanging plants in the spring, and relies on a daily harvest of long English cucumber production in the summer. Workers are still picking cukes three times a week in December, albeit from a smaller crop.

The City of Victoria and Butchart Gardens are known to grow poinsettias but not for sale.

For now, it’s poinsettia season at Hilltop, though the floor of one greenhouse is covered in fuschia seedlings ahead of Mother’s Day, the next crop in an ongoing cycle. Hilltop poinsettias are only sold at a commercial level but are easy enough to find in stores around town.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

Jada Benwell and Connor Larkey are the valedictorians of the 2021 graduating class at Parkland Secondary School. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Pandemic taught lessons in perseverance for North Saanich high schoolers

Parkland Secondary School to release 2021 grad ceremony video on June 25

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read